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Half Day or Full Day Kindergarten? Advice?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!


It seems like ages since I've been on here, but I figured I'd go back to my "roots" esentially to go a place where other mom's shared my parenting beliefs to try and made a decision that I'm struggling with.  I have 4 kiddos, 3rd and 1st grade girls and a ds who will be entering K next year along with a ds entering preschool 3's.  I, my son who wil be 5 in May, was offered a spot in our school's all day Kindergarten (M-F 9-4, same hours as rest of elementary) and I initially turned it down.  In our district we have to pay, in this case $4100, for all day and half day isn't fee based.  You can add a couple days, up to all week actually, of a play based type class where they change teachers that is fee based.  But our all day is with a certified teacher whom they stay with all day and a parapro.  Half day would be with the K teacher, then on the days you selected other hours of esentially free play, social time, playground time and say crafts, they'd cross the hall and go in that room with that teacher. 


Like I said, initially I turned all day down since my older girls just went half day and never even did the additional "kinderplus" option.  All day would have been wayyy too much for them, but my son is a more mature almost 5 year old.  He is big, outgoing, happy, kind, pays attention, listens etc. Hits all the boxes for him being able to "handle" all day K.  He is a much different child than my girls who loved staying home with me, we loved our AM (we had PM K) outings to the coffee shop, library etc.  And they had a ton of time to bond with each other.  But my son when he is at home and I have to answer emails, or do the dishes or gather things for all the kids after school acivities, he is bored on his own.  He plays with his younger brother and this will get easier and I know they will bond more as my youngest gets older.  But he is used to the interaction of his older sibs and a lot of kids. The times when I can't fill in those low spots and have to get things done, he is bored, wants the tv on (which we don't do much of in this hours), picks fights with his brother.  He can't seem to get in the groove of just using that time for himself and enjoying.  He thrives on social interaction.  Even when we do say several things in the day, if I come home for an hour to pick things up, he is still asking what is next. 


So my question is, what should I be making this decision on?  If i do 1/2 day I can regroup and arrange my days differently to make sure we are active before school and I feel very strongly that bonding time with his brother is priceless and they both would be missing out on that last  year together before 1st grade.  I also believe, and he loves school now (MWF 3 hours in the AM) comes out beaming and very happy but tired (no naps though), that leaving a touch of wanting it more is a good thing, instead of being drag down tired etc and maybe too tired to enjoy his many other activities, soccer etc.  I value greatly too that time I can give him with me to reinforce a little more our values etc.  before sending him off to so many different personalities.  However the opportunity to put him in all day provides him strucuture etc and less down time to his day.  More of a routine.  But just not with me. 


I've read the research until my head spins.  It's equal on both side.  I don't feel like I need him to be academically ahead etc, I just wonder if the structure will be better for him, or should i give him one more year to bond with his brother and keep him at home. I can also add a couple days of the extra day for the social part so he's getting the best of both worlds.  Also the teachers are phenomenal, I simply adore the all day teacher he'd have, she was my oldest dd's and it's hard to not let him have that opportunity since she warms my heart and is such a good person.  but the 1/2 day teacher we havne't had before but is also a great person and the kids love.  How do i make my decision?  He is up for anything and willing to try anything.  I kind of feel like I'd love for him to have all day and kind of find myself discounting my part in who  he has become but my dh says I shouldn't, I'm who he wants to spend his day with and I'm going to regret pushign the "easy" button so to speak.  I've never done that, I've always toughed it out to give the kiddos what they need.  I feel I'd be stopping short.  Today I had my mind made up to choose 1/2 day, then right before I wanted to send the email we saw the all day K teacher and I hate to not choose her for him. 


How should I make my decision?  Oh and we'll be digging into his college $ to come up with the cash, it's not something we want to do but felt like maybe he needs it?  What should we do?


thanks for reading soooo far!

post #2 of 8

I'm the practical sort. If going full day is a stretch financially or going to make you dig into his college fund, I wouldn't do it.


My DD did half-day because that was the option. My DS full-day because it was the only option at his time. It was fine and honestly, such a little blip in reguards to their long term education.

post #3 of 8

I think both your options sound really super. This is a great choice to be making because either side has lots of PROS and few CONS. It's a win, whatever you do.


I'm wondering about having kids on 3 different schedules (regular school, 1/2 day K, and preschool) and if that would get old. I'm wondering if it would be easier *for you* for him to just be on the same schedule as your DDs.


If your family can swing the extra expense, and he will enjoy the program, I don't think there is anything wrong with letting him go so that your days are a little simplier. You have 4 children. You work your fanny off! Do what ever is easier and happier for you!

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much!  I did think abou the fact of having him on a regular schedule with his sisters would be tonssss easier on me, but as always, I have never been known to in a sense push the easy button.  I mean for me, pushing the easy button is ordering pizza instead of cooking.  It's made things realllly stressful at times but i think they have benefitted from it because they are all great kids and really close to each other, wanting to be with each other.  I kind of feel like it's because I haven't always done the easiest thing.  I've had crazy schedules before so it's just one more year of it to get the benefit from it. 


I did end up making the move today to put him in 1/2 day.  We'll see, it'll be a learning experience.  Thanks for the advice.  I also know that my husband making monthly $410 payments next year would have caused a lot of friction and i guess if he's getting his mom, his brother and a less stressed dad along with a  great teacher then it's all good.  dh said today, a good problem to have but it's still hard. 

post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by girlsmamma2 View Post I also know that my husband making monthly $410 payments next year would have caused a lot of friction and i guess if he's getting his mom, his brother and a less stressed dad along with a  great teacher then it's all good. 

It is all good!  I think it's cool to make choices that truly work for our WHOLE family, and this sounds like the choice that does. I hope he has a great year, and that it doesn't drive you too bonkers!


post #6 of 8

I agree with what some other moms have said and I wouldn't dip into savings to be able to afford full-day.  Half day will still give your child all the socialization benefits and expose him to what "school" is like, so why stretch yourself financially.  I know having him at home for more of the day will make things a little more hectic, but I think the financial strain will also make life "hectic." 


Good luck!

post #7 of 8

Our school district is moving to the "pay for full day" kindergarten next year. I have friends are so upset about it. THey feel like they can't afford it but then feel like if they don't, their child will miss out on things if s/he only goes half day. I am going to try and remember the quote that it's just a little blip in the grand scheme of their education the next time the topic comes up!


My youngest is in 1st grade and did full day kindergarten for free. But I went through this with my middle child (who is now in 5th grade). We were in a different district and full day kinder was $300 a month. My thought process was "$300 a month? We can't afford that. He can go half day and will be fine." He did and he is. And so is my oldest, who also went half day and is in 7th grade now and also doing well in school.


I do think all day kindergarten can make a big difference for some children, like for a child is going half day and then going home and watching TV the rest of the day. But if your child is going to school half a day and spending the other half of the day doing things like playing, being read to, coloring, going outside, going to the library, etc, I don't think it will matter at all that s/he is in half day instead of full day.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks so much everyone!  Well, I do feel better doing the half day financially.  I can see the stress already on my dh just doing the couple days we added the "kinderplus" social/play time to it.  I do love his teacher, we had his K visitation today.  They got to go in the classroom etc.  She is a very good person and I know he will like her.  It was hard walking by my dd's old K teacher who he would have had had he gone all day.  She is perfect but doing the all day class.  I know he will be fine.  I just feel pressure to entertain him when he's home and i can't always live up to that.  i have a plan we are going to do lunch/breakfast once a week so that will be nice and do shopping together/library/playground etc.  I don't know.  It is silly to dip into money saved for college, but for some reason i feel so much pressure riding on this decision.  I worry because he has a hard time getting along with his little brother.  His sister's had a natural ability to take care of him, but for him it's much harder to do.  I feel like I can't give him what he needs and there are more things to be done around the house now that I have 4, then when there even was only 3.  I can make it so there are days when it's just he and I and his little brother is at preschool, or they can be together.  So that flexibility is very nice. 


The only other thing, and i'm nitpicking here, is he is going in with 5 boys from his preschool.  they are nice boys, fine enough.  however one of them he tends to follow around and it bothers me because he isn't a follower and I can't stand watching it.  I've been able to get him a little away from this behavior, but I'm a big believer in breaking up cliques and meeting new kids and people, if you have a child that can handle that.  He can be put into any situation and make friends, start conversation etc.  I love this about him.  It annoys me because the other moms are all glad the "posse" is staying together and I'm annoyed.  It's not that I don't like these boys, it's just they've been together for 2 years and it's a good chance to move on and meet many more new friends.  I find myself avoiding playdates with them because I feel like I'd rather have the other boys bond and make it so he'll gravitate towards new kids.  I find that experience priceless.  My dd's both went in not knowing anyone in K and they weren't nearly as social as he is.  to this day it benefits them.  I just an not a fan of the cliques.  I'm being silly right? 

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